Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food and Goats

Gracie says 'hi!'

Honestly, I promise to keep up with writing more often, aside from being a bit of therapy in the winter, it keeps me out of trouble when I am not knitting and before my eyes get tired.

Let's go back a bit.....
Last July, Dory went to Culinary School at Warren Wilson college- it was her first time out in a college environment and she was a bit overwhelmed, so we ended up splitting the week- she was there Monday through Wednesday and I was there from Wednesday through Friday. I can tell you that I really enjoyed my portion.

What is most striking about the campus at Warren-Wilson is the area it is in- there are fields all around and the students are very laid back and focused on the atmosphere in the mountains. With only 800+ students, the teacher/student ratio is excellent. Warren-Wilson is also a focal point for the local food/slow food movement.

The college sports a 3 1/2 acre organic market garden. The school gets much of its' own food from there and they also have a good presence at local farmer's markets. They also have two chicken tractors- one large (see the background in the above picture) and one small. Students drive the farm tractors, weed the gardens and plant the seeds. The Garden Cabin, where the culinary school was held, sits just at the head of the garden in a place just perfect for weddings and garden parties. There's nothing like a good garden party.

Here you see Matt using a tool I have never seen before, but I admit to coveting. Since we plan to use hills in the garden and pretty much turn it in to a 'no till' operation, I find this an interesting tool. He had these beds turned and ready in less than an hour.

This is the 'High Tea' day at Culinary School. I've got a bee in my bonnet about 'High Tea'- as we develop the farm more and more, I'd like to take over my husband's current building and turn it into a small high end craft/farm store and serve tea to a bridge club, or the like. Two four tops is nice and we are in a nice neighborhood where I live. It is do-able and feels good to think about.
The fellow at the head of the table is Ian Robertson, one of the professors at Warren-Wilson and one I will be dealing with when I am able to take farm apprentices. Ian is from Britain and quite a nice person besides.
We hope to offer at least one apprenticeship this year- and I believe it is already filled by a Berea College student. It is my understanding that Berea College is doing much the same track as Warren-Wilson is with training new generation farmers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The tool your man in the photo is using is called a U-bar. It was invented by the renown 'John Jeavons' of Ecology Action fame.

Under Jeavons' (now largely abandoned or discredited) double-dig method of soil preparation, after the bed has been double-dug a few seasons, the U-bar is used to loosen the soil without having to redig the bed which is labor intensive.

The idea is to not mix the soil layers but just crumble up the soil. Obviously this only works on very good, very well worked beds.

Now of days double digging has largely been abandoned and soil is not worked more than about 10 to 12 inches. U-bars still work for this and so are still in use.